It rests squarely on the shoulders of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to devise a responsible, fair and growth-minded state budget. With that in mind, any budget that does not benefit all New Yorkers should be labeled a failure. Yesterday the Assembly and Senate released their one-house budget resolutions, setting parameters and marking the start of more focused conversations.
THE PRIORITY MUST BE GROWTH
We have stood firm against a job-killing minimum wage hike and called for the immediate repeal of the 18-A energy tax, which is an unnecessary burden. I have pushed hard for the Small Business Full Employment Act, which, if enacted, would provide tax credits to businesses including one for simply maintaining their workforce. Any state spending plan must ensure the backbone of our economy, small businesses, can succeed.
Time and time again the Assembly Minority Conference has offered legislation to:
- Reduce the costs of owning and operating a business;
- Cut onerous regulations;
- Provide unfunded mandate relief;
- Create jobs; and
- Improve education and train the state’s youth.
Further, with more than $5 billion in bank settlement funds available this year, we have an opportunity to improve New York’s ailing infrastructure. Commuter travel, students and businesses all rely on safe roads to move people and goods. Increasing the funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) as well as creating a dedicated fund for future improvements, would ensure a long-term solution is in place, as members of the Conference stressed earlier this month. Any cut to the state’s infrastructure risks a slowdown of the economy, and that is something we can ill-afford in our delicate fiscal state.
The state budget must also address New York’s under-funded schools. The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) has deprived school districts of millions of dollars needed to provide a proper education for our children. And, while education reforms are clearly in order, we must first give districts the money they so desperately need. I have proposed a plan to restore the GEA over the next two years, which will give educators the resources they need.
Together, the Legislature and Governor have an opportunity to get New York on the right path. Please join me in calling for a smart, growth-minded spending plan. We deserve nothing less.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.